It’s past bedtime for most people. It’s late and I have no appointments tomorrow so I sit here at my computer and contemplate. Contemplate what you may ask. Well, like most nights that I am up late, I am contemplating what I always contemplate. My life, God’s will, the meaning of life, what’s happening in society with the riots and ongoing recession, and finally, the next step in my own journey. That is more that one can contemplate in one night – or a lifetime for that matter. As my blog readers know, I speak of being in the moment, staying present and not worrying. You, me, are more effective in that place. Yet, there are times for reflection.
Reflecting gives me the opportunity to check-in with the events of the past week. The conversations, interactions and people I’ve met. Along with that there is the recollection of the impact I made or they made during our exchange. This includes what may come from the relationship. Sadly, there are those people whose impact may have been negative. During the exchange there are attempts at honest communication and I’m saddened by the lack of insight they may possess. Relationships can be a fickle thing.
Often, I’m astonished by the mistakes we make as adults: Mistakes about our own beliefs and how that impacts others; Mistakes about relationship choices; Mistakes of judging others. One encounter with someone rarely scratches the surface and most issues people have during an interaction are their own issues. Chances are you’re seeing a reflection of yourself. But at the same, I understand what the human condition is capable of most anything when reacting instead of acting.
I’ve had to learn that during the last two years. Many beliefs and attitudes I encountered were the representative reality of my own making, not theirs. What I would see is what I expected to see based upon previous encounters with other people. Little triggers would set me off, thinking about a past event, letting it taint the current potential for a new relationship. My self limiting beliefs and internal dialog affected the interactions in a very real, negative way. After shutting so many people out, I finally took stock and began to challenge myself to see past those initial encounters. This is when I began to grow. This is where being mindful has helped. No longer am I trapped by past issues; I am able to live in the moment.
Most often, when we present ourselves to a new person, our strategy is to adopt a persona that we have become comfortable and safe with. Most people presented our most authentic self while growing up and had our trust betrayed. Or, we’ve been schooled by parents, teachers, or friends that we should always be on our guard. In the past two years, I have learned that this is counterproductive to my personal growth.
While I will speak more freely about certain topics, I bring my truest nature into the relationship immediately. I speak openly about matters of the heart, matters of the spirit based upon my own experiences, and many other unusual topics of life and relationships. It troubles me to be in conversations with people who are guarded and anxious, as though they had something to hide, to protect, or suggest that I’m untrustworthy. To me, to give trust is to be trustworthy.
In opening myself up to be vulnerable, I demonstrate trust and that I am trustworthy. This has been affirmed by clients who have opened their life to me during our sessions. By demonstrating my trials, I allowed my clients (and friends and family) to be vulnerable and honest with me. Others won’t go there. For whatever reasons, others like to keep things private, without examining their life.
We are complex creatures and are wise to be careful with whom we trust. But, can you be so overly cautious that you no longer learn anything about yourself, your power? I think you can. Challenges are given to us to rise up and grow. When a challenge shows up, you go through it, not ignore it. You should use the challenge as an opportunity to grow.
All this to say, when you are given the opportunity to go down the path of personal development, do it. Do it for yourself, do it for those around you. But don’t do it alone. Hire a coach, engage a friend, use an accountability partner, whatever you are comfortable with.
For now, the questions I’m left with are:
- Why are you afraid?
- Who are you really afraid of?
- So what is it that you really want?
- What are you willing to do to get it?
What are your answers? What are your questions when you sit up contemplating things?